The Suydam Bottling Company was listed in the Brooklyn directories at 135 Suydam Street from the mid-teens up through the early 1940’s. Up through the late 1920’s the Levine Bottling Company was also listed at the same address and its likely that this was the legal name of the business.
The 1913/1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directories for Brooklyn and Queens named the proprietors of the Levine Bottling Company as Barney and Hyman Reuben (later changed to Rubin) and Isaac Weitz.
Company advertisements always used the Suydam Bottling Company name. One, in the 1920 Cassified Phone Book (Yellow Pages), stressed “pure, healthful mineral waters” and “pure fruit juices used.”
They were one of many Brooklyn and Long Island Bottlers of Beverages that “patriotically contributed” advertising space in the June 27, 1918 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” that contained a plea from Uncle Sam to Brooklynites to sign a pledge card to purchase war savings stamps to fund the war effort.
In 1928 it appears that the company legally changed its name to the Suydam Bottling Company. That year the September 21 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union included them in a listing under the heading: “New Business Ventures.”
New business certifications and partnerships filed with the County Clerk yesterday follow….
SUYDAM BOTTLING CO., 135 Suydam St. – Barney Rubin, 135 Suydam St.; Hyman Rubin, 135 Suydam St.
Weitz was not mentioned, likely having retired or passed away sometime in the mid – 1920’s.
That year a promotional story featuring the business appeared in the Brooklyn Standard Union. Published on January 31, 1928, it started out like this:
“Once tried, never denied – beats all” is the well expressed and appropriate trade slogan of the famous Suydam Bottling Company, who are the manufacturers of not only the well known Briarcliffe Pale Dry Ginger Ale, but other popular beverages, as well, which are good sellers in the market today.
Several advertisements for their Briarcliffe Ginger Ale appeared in the Brooklyn newspapers at around the same time.
The Standard Union feature went on to describe the operation at the time.
Their plant is located at 135-137 Suydam Street, having been founded in 1904. It is being carried on by the Messrs. Barney and Hyman Rubin with such success that heir territory has extended to all parts of Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County.
These mineral waters are prepared in a modern sunlit establishment, which is always open to the public for inspection. Four automatic machines constantly at work, pour it into bottles which are washed in hot water by machinery and sterilized, so that when it reaches the consumer it is entirely free from any impurities, no human hand ever having come in contact with the bottle. With the able assistance of thirty-one employees, fifteen inside and sixteen outside, 1,000 cases are turned out daily, there being twelve bottles in every case…
Possibly impacted by the repeal of Prohibition, the company declared bankruptcy in October, 1933. The bankruptcy notice appeared in the October 6, 1933 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union.
Their offer of $0.25 on the dollar must have been accepted because the company remained listed at 135 Suydam Street up until 1940.
In 1941 the company again declared bankruptcy and their assets were sold at public auction on November 18, 1941.
Today, 135 Suydam Street is a one-story brick building with several garage door openings that could date back to the business.
The bottle I found is machine made (27 oz); probably from the 1920’s. I haven’t seen a mouth blown example of this bottle on the Internet.
On a final note, the 1928 feature on the company mentioned that the company was founded in 1904. The Rubin family as well as Isaac Weitz both listed their occupation as seltzer or mineral waters in 1910 census records so it’s likely a reference to the history of one or both families.